Sunday, April 14, 2013

App aims for faster autism diagnosis

Specialists would base diagnosis on videos of children's behavior uploaded to a website.


Because of a shortage of specialists around the country, it can take as long as six months for parents
who suspect their child might have autism to get confirmation and begin treatment.

To help with the problem, the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, a Phoenix-based autism research nonprofit, is developing a smartphone application that specialists would use to diagnose autism based on videos of children's behavior uploaded onto a website.

The app, the Naturalistic Observation Diagnostic Assessment, could shorten the diagnositic process so children can get treatment earlier, especially in rural communities where skilled specialists are difficult to find. If the app is successful, the diagnostic process that took Herrera three years could take a few weeks.

Parents still would have to arrange follow-up treatment and care with specialists, and there would be an unknown cost for the app-based diagnosis.

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